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Asymptomatic spread of coronavirus appears ‘very rare,’ WHO says


GENEVA (KRON) – Asymptomatic people – those who have coronavirus but do not show symptoms – are not driving the spread of the virus, officials with the World Health Organization announced during Monday’s daily press briefing.

“From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said at a news briefing in Geneva, CNBC reported. “It’s very rare.”

During the beginning of the pandemic, health officials had warned that asymptomatic carriers could be the primary source of transmission.

That notion was debunked Monday as Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s Emerging Disease and Zoonosis team, clarified that while this type of spread can happen, it is not the main way the virus is being transmitted.

“We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing,” she said.

“They’re following asymptomatic cases. They’re following contacts. And they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It’s very rare,” Dr. Van Kerkhove added.

She said governments should instead focus their efforts on detecting and isolating infected people with symptoms, then tracking anyone who might have come into contact with them.

“What we really want to be focused on is following the symptomatic cases,” Dr. Van Kerkhove said.

“If we actually followed all of the symptomatic cases, isolated those cases, followed the contacts and quarantined those contacts … it would be a drastic reduction in transmission,” she said.

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